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Citizens', Scientists', and Policy Advisors' Beliefs about Global Warming (WP-14-17)

Toby Bolsen, James Druckman, and Fay Lomax Cook

Few political debates have attracted as much attention as the ones surrounding global warming. Extant work has identified numerous factors that shape citizens’ beliefs on this issue, yet few studies compare the views of the public with other key actors in the policymaking process. The researchers draw on data from simultaneous and parallel surveys of (1) the U.S. public, (2) scientists who actively publish research on energy technologies in the U.S. and (3) Congressional policy advisors. They find that beliefs about global warming diverge markedly in comparing the views of the public, scientists, and policy advisors. Scientists and policy advisors are more likely than the public to express a belief in the existence and anthropogenic nature of global warming; however, similar to the public, policy advisors – and to a lesser degree scientists – are ideologically polarized over global warming.


Toby Bolsen, Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University

James Druckman, Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science, Associate Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Fay Lomax Cook, Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

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